Since I'm away and won't be preaching this Sunday, I'm posting the note that I put in the bulletin both to explain my absence and to further encourage awareness of stewardship among the parishioners.
I returned from two weeks away—a retreat, CCO board meeting, and time with my family—to the news that the parish community had raised more than $18,000 for the good work of Father Kadavil with deaf children in India. Such charity is remarkable, and a sign of the spirit of stewardship at Christ the Redeemer.
As you know, stewardship has been a priority for our parish. For several years our parish has been reflecting on the words of St. Peter: "Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received" (1 Peter 10). We've talked a lot about sharing our "time, talent, and treasure" for God's glory and our own spiritual good.
With help from speakers such as Father Daniel Mahan, and the leadership of our own parish stewardship committee, we've tried to understand that stewardship isn't spelled "$tewardship"—it's not focused on money, but on our call to live gratefully, responsibly, and generously. Our parish council has studied the American bishop's pastoral letter Stewardship: A Disciple's Response, and we've made a summary available to all parishioners.
The Archdiocese has strongly supported parishes in their efforts to implement stewardship as a way of life, notably by appointing Mrs. Barbara Dowding as our first archdiocesan Director of Stewardship. Archbishop Miller has shown his own commitment by personally attending conferences of the International Catholic Stewardship Council, and will be present again this week at its annual convention in San Diego.
I'll be in San Diego this week as well, giving a presentation titled "Stewardship and Generation X," in which I will talk—with pride—about how our parish invites young adults to become involved as stewards at Christ the Redeemer, and about your strong support of our ministries to them. It's hard to be away from the community at this busy time, but meetings like this one are where new ideas and a fresh vision take shape. (It was at the ICSC meeting in 2008 that we met Father Mahan and invited him to share his rich insights with the parish.)
Please pray not only for the success of my talk, but even more for the continued growth of the spirit of stewardship at Christ the Redeemer.
Blog visitors unfamiliar with the ideas behind stewardship may find a good summary in these words from the American bishops' pastoral letter:
"Stewardship is an expression of discipleship,
with the power to change how we understand and live out our lives.
Disciples who practice stewardship recognize God as the origin of life,
the giver of freedom, the source of all they have and are and will be.
They are deeply aware of the truth that
"The Lord's are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it" (Ps 24:1).
They know themselves to be recipients and caretakers of God's many gifts. They are grateful for what they have received."